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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Eileen Barton born 24 November 1924

Eileen Phyllis Barton (November 24, 1924 - June 27, 2006), was an American singer best known for her apostrophic 1950 hit song, "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake."

She was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her birthdate is often given as 1929, but a certified copy of her birth certificate shows that she was born in 1924. This was done commonly, to shave a few years from a performer's age.

Eileen's parents, Benny and Elsie Barton, were vaudeville performers. She first appeared in her parents' act at age
2-1/2, singing "Ain't Misbehavin' and soon became a child star. By age 6, she appeared on "The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour," a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart's "Automat," a then-well-known restaurant chain, and by age 7 she was working with Milton Berle on his "Community Sing" radio program. At 8, she had a daily singing program of her own on radio station WMCA, "Arnold's Dinner Club." She also acted on radio series such as Death Valley Days. At age 11, she left show business briefly. At age 14 she went on the Broadway stage as an understudy to Nancy Walker in Best Foot Forward, followed by an appearance under her own name with Elaine Stritch in Angel in the Wings.

At age 15, she appeared as a guest singer on a Johnny Mercer variety series, leading to her being noticed by Frank Sinatra,
who took her under his wing and put her in a regular spot on the CBS radio show that he hosted in the 1940s. She co-starred on Sinatra's show for one year, and was also part of Sinatra's act at the Paramount Theater in 15 appearances there. She also appeared on her own and as a guest performer with such stars as Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Danny Kaye. Soon she got her own radio programs, first one called Teen Timers, and later the 13-episode The Eileen Barton Show. She also did some early television.


In 1949 she cut the record of "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake" (written by Bob Merrill, Albert Hoffman and Al Trace; Trace used the pseudonym Clem Watts) and introduced it on Don McNeill's radio program, The Breakfast Club. On the record, Trace's band musicians backed her, but were given billing as "The New Yorkers."3 The record became one of the best-selling records on an independent label of all time, charting at #1 for twelve weeks, and altogether on the Billboard charts for over four months.

As is often the case in early music business stories, Eileen - in an interview in 2005 - indicated she never received a penny in royalties from either National or Mercury for her record's success, although by contract she was supposed to receive 5% of each sale.

After the success of this record, she became a night club and stage performer, appearing at all the important clubs in New
York City and many others. She continued to record for both National and Mercury, making "Honey, Won't You Honeymoon with Me?" (catalog number 9109) and "May I Take Two Giant Steps?" (catalog number 9112) for National and "You Brought a New Kind of Love" (catalog number 5410) for Mercury.

Later she moved over to Coral Records, and charted with some cover versions of songs that were bigger hits for other artists, such as "Cry," "Sway," and others. She also appeared in motion pictures and television, working the restaurant and night club circuit well into the 1970s.

Eileen Barton died at her West Hollywood home from ovarian cancer. She had no children and was not married at the time of her passing. Barton was 81 years old at the time of her death. (info Wikipedia)

A quick video search gives me this little gem. For the March of Dimes, Eileen sings I Have To" from 1955.


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